Kildow Nails First Top-5

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CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, Italy Jan. 17, 2004--Lindsey Kildow (Burnsville, MN) ignored steady snow to collect the first top-5 of her World Cup career Saturday, finishing fifth—with Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME) another .01 back in sixth—in the first of two downhills at Cortina. Germany's Hilde Gerg won her 18th World Cup race in 1:17.57 while Renate Goetschl of Austria was second and took over the World Cup points lead.

Outdoor Life Network, which broadcasts World Cup coverage all winter from Europe, will televise coverage of the women's race Saturday at 7 p.m. ET with rebroadcasts Sunday night at 5 ET and Thursday at 10 p.m. ET. Online viewing of Kildow's career-best performance is available at alpinerace.com.

In the third of four days of racing in Cortina, and the first of two DHs, Gerg's victory was her second of the season while Goetschl, who pulled one point ahead of Swede Anja Paerson (789-788) after 19 races, was timed in 1:17.87. Kildow, running 26th—one ahead of Gerg, finished in 1:18.22 with Clark, who skied 14th, down in 1:18.23. Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) was 29th.

Worries turn to smiles

"I was a little worried because if it got sunny, the course could get a little rough for the later numbers," Kildow said, "but it worked out well because it was dumping snow. It held up pretty well, though, and feltquite a bit faster than training. I was glad, though, when they moved the start down because it was pretty windy, too...

"It's a pretty technical course. If you take away the top part—the only flat's the first five or 10 seconds and then the bottom 10, maybe 15, seconds and it's a question of how you carry your speed from one section into the next."

A top-3 is one of her goals for the season for Kildow, who was silver medalist in downhill at the 2003 World Junior Championships. "I was hoping for a podium today—I've been so close..."

She added, "I've been skiing really well in training but haven't figured out how to keep it for a race, so I just tried to relax today and ski the way I know how to."

Coach: "Big breakthrough" for Kildow

"I think this is a big breakthrough for Lindsey," said DH/SG Coach Alex Hoedlmoser. "We've seen her ski so well in training and now she carried it into the race, which is excellent. I think it's just what Lindsey needs and now she can carry this confidence forward.

"It was skiing very hard early in the race and Kirsten caught that heavy snow, so she did a great job in tough conditions."

The women are scheduled to run a second downhill Sunday. In a separate development, officials said a downhill canceled in Lech, Austria, will be made up Jan. 30 in Haus, Austria, preceding the normally scheduled DH/super G that weekend.